Friday, January 9, 2009


Read this.... more hassle for me. Why couldnt they get the card right the first time. Do u notice how we often go one big round to try to be different from HK, but always end up copying/ emulating them and ended up using the same thing/ concept. Just get it right the first time for christ sake instead of trying to rush it out.

I rem HK Octopus card was in use way before EZLINK and so why didnt our people actually study the wide use of HK's model before plunging into our useless card is a mystery. Pride? Arrogant? Political? Whatever. Just dont tell me later another card change just to combine with Nets or whatever down the road. People, THINK before you ACT. Such simple concept, yet so hard to follow. Sigh

I want to laugh when I read this para from channelnewsasia Online where he said - "Imagine the possibilities..."

Quote: "Nicholas Lee, executive director, EZ Link, said: "Imagine the possibilities where you can develop schemes for cross-usage between public transport, ERP and parking. There can be incentives, discounts and rebates, where you can cross between modes to give consumers some preference to use our product."

Hello Caveman? Where have you been living? Timbatu?? Some remote caveland? Have you been to HK mister? If you want to give a marketing spin, for god sake, please be more creative that doesnt actually make u sound naive. Why do we need to imagine when there is a well working model for us to admire in HK? Granted they do not have ERP yet that aside, but hey, their wide diversifed use for Octopus card is renown and they are already giving rewards / point / rebates/ discounts system for the card when one shop or buy cinema tickets etc to. They allow their Octopus card for payment long ago. And topping up of card is sooo convenient that it can be done at any 7-11 store in split second, compared to our system of "die die top up at train station" if u didnt sign up for Giro (unless this practice has changed in recent years).

The HK octopus card is developed in Hk for max use and benefit for the population, it is not design to fit the limited "possibilities" provided by one company. Unless this chap has been so holed up in some countryclub instead of venturing outwards, you would know that SG is sorely lacking behind when it come to contacless card. His comment is just plain Funny to me.

Anycase, I visited the website and below is the official release for those interested. In case you go back and wonder why your card no longer works.....go get it change when u make your next trip back to SG.

Link: EZLINK card press release website

"MASS ez-link card REPLACEMENT BEGINSCurrent ez-link cardholders have 9 months to exchange their cards - from 9 January to 30 September 2009.

The one-for-one card replacement exercise will end in September 2009, when the current EIFS fare system will be discontinued. After September 2009, the old ez-link cards cannot be used for travel on public transit. However, cardholders may still get a refund on any remaining value in their old cards up to 12 years from the date the card is first encoded for use. "


littlecartnoodles said...

Apparently there'll be four different companies offering their own contactless payment solution in Singapore.

Perhaps, instead of HK, the geniuses who decided that costly, unnecessary competition is good for the Singapore payments market had learned from Tokyo instead, where there are different turnstiles for different contactless cards. 錢太多!

soojenn said...

Gosh.. I suppose Nicholas Lee is treating Singaporeans like cavemen, being one himself. "Imagine the possibilities..". The cavemen is joking. We don't have to imagine. It is already implemented in HK. The Octopus Card is used is HK for (i) most of the public transport including the MRT, LRT, KCR, mini buses, buses (ii) parking at most of the carparks (iii) shopping including the 7 Elevens, and alot of shops & oulets. You can use the card for almost anything in HK. There already also incentives, discounts, points for exchange of goods, etc.. It has also the advantage that the card can be linked to your credit card or a bank account for automatic top up when the balance reaches $0 (top up amount is HK$250).

The jounalist who wrote the article is nowhere better. Instead of questioning the cavemen, they just report it as is. The journalist is probably also from Timbaktu. The standard of our journalists are far below even the ones in HK.

"me-no-mad" said...

IS there going to be FOUR ridiculous companies vying for the contacless solution?! WHAT AN utter waste of resources and brainjuice over something so straight forward, for a SMALL POPULATION AND MONOPOLISED transport!

Rather than more companies for contactless card, i RATHER much have MORE Private BUS alternatives which we USED TO HAVE in the 80s until LTA stopped them from operating - (and from eating in SBS profits margins) U guys do rem those schoolbus turned parttime private bus routes that travel certain routes right - the non SBS bus to CBD in peak morn hours). Wont private bus be a better option than more cabs on road since for the same carbon trail, we are moving more people in a bus.

So instead of minibus in HK, we should bring back those school bus parttime as private bus with limited stop options. I rem reading some years back there were calls for it but got rejected by the relevant authorities despite the fact that the alternatives will take the major squeeze load off the SBS and train. Of course what am i saying, no way it will happen, it will only eat into the shareholders dividends....i digress...

Back to discussion, I agree, we have too many UNNECESSARY compeition in singapore. In japan, I dont live there so i cannot compare but they have a BIG COUNTRY AND DISTANCE to justify 4 companies or more. At least they have the "pay the difference" and top up to correct fare option if you underpurchase the initial ticket, rather than FINE penalty which we have in Singapore.

"me-no-mad" said...

soojenn, you hit the nail right on the spot with what you said. I didnt know about the auto top up but well, now we know! HK's entreprenuership is just so much better than sg. I heard that our MRT is FINALLY going to Emulate HK's train, with the blinking destination sighboard (above the door). One would wonder, WHY it takes singapore THAT LOOOOONG to take that good feature, if it DOES materialise that it.

I esp agree with u on the journalist part - couldnt he/ she QUESTION on the "imagine" part. I would FEEL emabrassed even to keep quiet, least of all print it in black and white without contesting the interviewee, or probing more... I guess, he/she just aim to write a piece and submit it, taking NO pride in the work, and taking singaporeans for a bunch of frogs congregated in a well, seeing the world from a pinhole.

For many articles now, the piece is either badly written (in terms of context), badly delivered, biased or incomplete (not painting a full picture). Channel newsasia.... u would think there is some standard there.

Are we asking that much for a coherent and well written articles?

littlecartnoodles said...

I won't be surprised if the PR director of EZ-Link had told the journalists beforehand, "We don't want to hear about Hong Kong's Octopus. Don't keep comparing us."

Any HK business or govt body knows that it'd better be prepared for a lot of flak and tough questions if it has to make consumers do some legwork. Whereas in Singapore, it's "Consumers had better do it, or else."

littlecartnoodles said...

Hey, Nicholas Lee ! Put this on your To Do list:

- Rewards program
- Payment at car-parks
- Donation acceptance for flag-sellers using wireless readers

Those of us in HK have been there and done that. Maybe you'll have to implement this in 2015 after people have forgotten about this current replacement exercise.

"me-no-mad" said...

I was laughing so hard at your "nicholas Lee - to do list in 2015"

One must not forget to add too:
"The above to do list - NO IMAGINATION REQUIRED!!! Plus, adopting current Hk Octopus program is NOT considered plagiarism!"

Incidentally by 2015, I am sure Hk would have come up with newer, wider use and Sg will still be playing catching up!!

Who are these people planted to head these companies and ministries... do they only travel between workplace and home only? Someone should subscrived "Travel and Living" and National Geography for them since they seemed not to step out of singapore at all with their limited foresight.

littlecartnoodles said...

Here's the link to an article that mentions the four competing solutions :

Anonymous said...

hong kong does not have erp but they do have to pay when they go through tunnels this comes in the form of autotoll or paying manually.

it is very similar to erp just that the bill comes to your house every month like a credit card bill.

ya seriously what is there to imagine. in hong kong the octopus is accepted EVERYWHERE. what makes it better everywhere you can use it you can top it up whether its the super market or 7-11 and even better. NO EXTRA CHARGES!!